With much of the sports world’s future unclear, the one thing that is crystal clear is that the situation caused by the coronavirus is something that nobody expected.
Former Flyer and current Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet feels this has all been a learning experience.
“I didn’t think it would be that long, I thought maybe two or three weeks," Tocchet said in a video interview last Thursday with NBC Sports Philadelphia, "but then you see how serious it is.”
Tocchet as a player was as tough as they come. He did everything as a member of the Flyers' franchise and won three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins (two as an assistant coach, one as a player). Tocchet, despite being a coach, has that player’s mentality, and the current league suspension has forced him to change his daily approach a bit.
“I’m a routine guy," he said. "When you take routine away from hockey players, you get a little stir crazy, so I try to have a routine every day.”
Part of Tocchet’s routine is checking in with his players and watching video on his computer, preparing for when and if the NHL season returns. But that won’t be an easy process for hockey, which is different as far as conditioning than the other major sports.
“Guys need to skate, they need ice," Tocchet said.
“Guys aren’t skating, and to be able to just hop back in there, you have to give these guys a seven-to-10-day training camp.”
How the NHL season returns remains to be seen. Multiple scenarios of beginning with the playoffs have been hypothesized. Regardless of what happens, the likelihood of someone being unhappy is high.
“I don’t know what’s fair or not," Tocchet said. "If they said teams that are in now get in, I think we’d have to swallow that, and you’re in.”
Tocchet’s Coyotes are currently four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so that would be an unfortunate break for the former Flyer who is looking to reach the playoffs for the first time in his third year as head coach in Arizona.
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